The 20 Most Shocking Fight Knockouts in History

Colin Ward-HenningerContributor IJuly 6, 2011

The 20 Most Shocking Fight Knockouts in History

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    I believe Rocky Balboa put it best when he said, "Hey Tommy! I didn't hear no bell!"

    The three people that saw Rocky V are laughing right now, but the rest of you can check out the clip so you can understand what I'm talking about.

    Basically Rocky was rephrasing the famous line "It ain't over 'til it's over" in boxing terms, suggesting that no matter how down and defeated a fighter looks, anything can happen until that final bell rings.

    Over the years many fighters have proven this dictum to be true, and those are the fighters that I'd like to celebrate today.

    Here are the 20 most unexpected knockouts in fighting history.

20. Vince Phillips vs. Kostya Tszyu

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    "Cool" Vince Phillips came into his match with undefeated Light Welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu as an extreme underdog.

    As Phillips battled through nine rounds, it became apparent that he belonged with the champ. Even after a solid battle, nobody saw it coming when Phillips unleashed a barrage on Tszyu in the 10th round, resulting in a TKO.

19. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry

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    Cheick Kongo, a Kimbo Slice look-alike, was knocked down twice in the first round.

    Many thought that the referee was going to stop the fight, but instead he let it continue, and boy, did Kongo take advantage.

    Barry seemed sure of himself as he marched in to finish the job, but Kongo caught him with a perfect right hand and then unexpectedly finished Barry off on the mat.

18. Hasim Rahman vs. Lennox Lewis

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    In 2001 very few people gave Hasim Rahman a chance to beat champion Lennox Lewis, as evidenced by the 20:1 odds.

    After battling for five rounds, Rahman managed to catch Lewis with a clean right hand, knocking the Englishman out immediately.

17. Nick Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi

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    It looked as if Nick Diaz was on his way to defeat in the opening moments of the fight. Gomi dominated while Diaz's back was on the mat, but Diaz refused to give in.

    After some more battling, Gomi finally tired, and Diaz decided to make his move. He had gained the upper hand by the end of the first round, and Diaz finished the fight by unexpectedly getting Gomi in a submission hold called a gogoplata with just over three minutes left in the second round.

16. Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson

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    It gets overshadowed by the sequel, but Holyfield and Tyson's first bout was one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.

    Tyson, the champion, was facing a 34-year-old Holyfield, who was in his fourth fight of a lackluster comeback attempt after retiring two years earlier.

    Tyson was a huge favorite and started the fight by sending Holyfield backwards with a thunderous punch. Holyfield regrouped and, in the 11th round, managed to pummel Tyson enough for the referee to stop the fight and award Holyfield a TKO.

15. Corrie Sanders vs. Wladimir Klitschko

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    In a classic "tune-up" fight, Wladimir Klitschko was looking to put away an easy contender before moving on to a stronger opponent.

    Sanders, 37, had been openly discussing retirement and had only put in three rounds of boxing in the previous three years.

    There was no signature knockout, but Sanders sent Klitschko to the mat four times (first knockdown at 2:38 on the video) before the fight was called in the second round.

14. Anderson Silva vs. Rich Franklin

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    This is a preview for their rematch, but it does a nice job recapping what happened the first time around.

    Silva was coming in as the underdog against Franklin, who was the middleweight champion with a record of 20-1-1.

    It wasn't just the fact that Silva won but the way that he brutalized Franklin and rearranged his face that made this knockout such an upset.

13. Kevin Randleman vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic

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    If you don't think Kevin Randleman knocking out Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic was an upset, just listen to the audio call.

12. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

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    Sokoudjou entered his light heavyweight showdown with the Brazilian Nogueira as an enormous underdog.

    At nearly 15:1, Sokoudjou was given almost no shot at defeating the younger Nogueira brother.

    Clearly Sokoudjou didn’t get the memo.

    Just 28 seconds into the very first round, Sokoudjou knocked “Minotauro” clean out with a vicious left hook. The upset is the greatest victory in Sokoudjou’s career and one of the biggest in the history of the sport.

    It probably speaks to the enormity of this upset that nearly every clip of the fight has been removed, but hopefully this one will still be up by the time you read this.

11. Michael Bentt vs. Tommy Morrison

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    Known for his punching power, Tommy Morrison was making his way through the heavyweight division, and an $8 million date with Lennox Lewis was on the immediate horizon.

    But first Morrison had to take care of Michael Bentt, an unknown with only 11 professional fights. Morrison intimidated early, knocking Bentt back with a series of punches.

    Perhaps it was overconfidence on Morrison's part, but Bentt flipped the switch and dominated the fight from that point on, knocking Morrison down three times in the first round to earn the victory.

10. Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

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    Forrest Griffin, the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, got his chance at glory when he was scheduled to fight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, considered the top Light Heavyweight fighter in the world.

    The hard-fought battle was looking like it was going to head to the scorecards when suddenly, with 15 seconds left in the third round, Griffin managed to get Rua into a chokehold and force him to tap out.

9. BJ Penn vs. Matt Hughes

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    BJ Penn pulled off what some considered to be an upset in his first fight against Matt Hughes. Hughes returned the favor by winning their second bout, setting up a rubber match at UFC 123.

    Penn might have been expected to win, but not the way that he did. He knocked out Hughes just 21 seconds into the fight.

8. Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic

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    It's a good thing when your name is on this list twice...unless, of course, you're the person being knocked out both times...

    Cro Cop got knocked out again, this time at the hands of 5:1 underdog Gabriel Gonzaga.

    This is one of the cleanest kicks you'll ever see in MMA.

7. Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell

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    Randy Couture dropped down to the 205-pound limit and was granted a title shot against the champion Chuck Liddell at UFC 43. Couture was coming off two straight losses and was not expected to gain the light heavyweight belt.

    However, the wrestling background of “The Natural” led to a third-round stoppage of the champ after Couture was able to ground-and-pound Liddell from the full mount.

    It was quite an upset for Couture, but it would not be his last.

6. Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston

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    Sonny Liston was undefeated for nearly a decade before he faced a brash, young, cocky kid named Cassius Clay in February of 1964.

    Liston was no match for Clay's speed and was TKO'd after six rounds.

    The fight is also memorable for Clay's speech afterward, which set the blueprint for post-fight boasting for years to come.

5. George Foreman vs. Michael Moorer

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    At the age of 45, George Foreman stepped into the ring against titleholder Michael Moorer, 26, and the age difference showed early.

    Moorer seemed to be putting on a boxing clinic, dominating the fight by winning nearly every round. In the 10th, knowing he needed a knockout for the victory, Foreman landed a few jabs and then hit Moorer with a devastating right that sent Moorer to the mat for good.

    Foreman became the oldest fighter to ever win the heavyweight crown and set the record for the longest period between his first and second world championships at 20 years.

4. Joe Lauzon vs. Jens Pulver

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    It's always great to win the first fight of your UFC career. It's even better when you do it against a former Lightweight champion when you're a 6:1 underdog.

    It's even better when you do it on a knockout less than a minute into the first round.

    Congratulations to Joe Lauzon, who defeated Jens Pulver just such fashion.

3. Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones Jr.

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    In their first fight Antonio Tarver and Roy Jones Jr. went the distance, with Jones coming away with the decision.

    Experts claimed that Jones, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world at the time, was "weight-drained" and gave Tarver little chance in the rematch.

    Tarver stunned everyone, including Jones, when he landed a left to the chin for a second-round upset knockout.

2. Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre

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    Matt Serra was a fighter in the UFC that failed to find success after losing to top competition like BJ Penn, Din Thomas and Karo Parisyan. Then he was given the chance of a lifetime, a guaranteed shot at Georges St. Pierre for the Welterweight Title, on The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback.

    So on April 7, 2007, St. Pierre and Serra fought for the title, and to everyone's shock, Serra destroyed St. Pierre at 3:25 of the first round with a series of hooks that dazed Georges and dropped him, leaving Serra to finish him off with ground-and-pound.

    In a fight where he played possibly the biggest underdog of all time, Matt Serra also created possibly the greatest upset in MMA history.

1. Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson

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    "This makes Cinderella look like a sad story."

    Those are the words of Larry Merchant after arguably the greatest knockout upset in the history of boxing.

    James "Buster" Douglas etched his name into sports history when he knocked out the seemingly invincible and previously undefeated Mike Tyson.